Friday, December 31, 2010


While in Zanzibar over the Christmas holiday, we paid a visit to the Anglican Cathedral Church Of Christ, Stone Town.  It is a very moving historical site to see, built on the very site where the largest slave market in Zanzibar stood for over seven centuries. 
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The church was built in 1873 (ten years in the process) immediately after the abolition of the slave trade, and on one of the walls hangs a wooden cross carved from the tree under which David Livingstone’s heart was buried in Zambia. 
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Livingstone was appalled by the evils of the slave trade and worked tirelessly in campaigning for its abolition.  Zanzibar was the centre to which the millions of slaves captured in east Africa were taken to be sold in the Middle East and India.
Once the slave trade was ended, the slave market  area was chosen as the site for the first church on the island, signifying the redemption that  mankind has received in Christ.  Powerful thought!
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Underneath the church site are two of the slave chambers that have been kept as part of the memorial to those who suffered there.  All the others were sealed off when the church was built.  We were able to see the dark, dank airless chambers where men, women and children were crammed in waiting to be auctioned…it was crushing to think of the suffering that humans have caused each other.
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The most significant part of the church is the altar that was built on the exact  spot where the whipping post was located.  The slaves were taken from the underground chambers and whipped in the auction area to determine their cost.  Those who did not cry out were considered stronger and fetched a higher price.  Circle on the floor in front of the altar was the base of the post.
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Motivated by the unbounded love of God, Livingstone and others like him stood against this evil and thousands of slaves were freed.  The hotel we stayed in for our last two nights in Stone Town is called 236 Hurumzi .  The name “Hurumzi” comes from the Swahili words  “urhuru” (freedom) and “mze” (men) and this was the building where slave owners came to receive compensation for the price of the slaves they were setting free. 
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Thank God for His Son whom we celebrate each Christmas “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

White Christmas in the Tropics

This was a very different Christmas for us, celebrating on the beautiful island of Zanzibar with dazzling white sand beaches. One of the many great things about working in Uganda is the proximity to places like this for holiday breaks.   

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Our Christmases in Uganda are very green (or sometimes brown), but this year we had a unique “White Christmas” when we traveled to Zanzibar. With our Canadian prairie roots, a white Christmas is not a foreign concept to us at all…but we normally associate it with snow rather than white sand!

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No snow boots needed here!

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No snow shovels, either…just rakes for the sand!

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No toboggans, but lots of boats!

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Boys playing with their soccer ball on the beach looked like kids in Canada playing street hockey (sort of!).

 Zanzibar 339At low tide the sand stretched out far into the horizon, almost like a prairie field covered in snow waiting for cross country skiers!

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Boys with their “Christmas starfish” collection on the beach. 

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A brief glimpse of Santa on the beach – it’s a bit too hot for the whole suit! 

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The joy of Christmas can be celebrated anywhere!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To Blanket or Not To Blanket?

I met with a young man, Emma, this morning who had participated in one of my Farming God’s Way workshops a few months ago.  When the rains began, he planted this field field of maize, but did not use a blanket to cover the soil.


Look at the next photo.  He planted this field few weeks later but used “God’s blanket”.  Emma is amazed at the results, and is looking to fully implement Farming God’s Way next season.


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Office Journey

Looking back over the years since Kibaale Community Schools began in 1993, and even over the last year that the Timothy Centre has been developing, we can see so much growth and so many changes. Of course, the most exciting and rewarding changes have been in the lives of the students and families as they have been blessed with great Christian based education, health services and improved living conditions.

As I was moving into my new office at the Timothy Centre recently, I stopped to think back over history of “offices” I have had here. This one is number TEN!

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Over the years, that’s a lot of moving boxes and books and all sorts of miscellaneous materials we use for creating teaching aids…not to mention cleaning out dead spiders and mud wasps that like to hide in boxes and behind books! Many of the offices have been rather unorthodox sorts of places, such as the 20-foot metal shipping container that was office number one in Kibaale, and the newly built laundry room which was my most recent office here at the Timothy Centre.  Now it is nice to have a place where I can spread out and dig through resources that are useful for all the course planning that I am now doing for the teacher training programs we will be offering here.

office 010People often laugh at the strange collection of things I seem to accumulate in my office, but the old cardboard boxes, bottle caps, scrap fabric, tins, and stones are the raw materials for many of the teaching aids that we design for our teachers.  So it is great to have room now for a work area to make sample items for teachers to learn how to make and use.

office 012 Thanks to Paul and his crew for the beautiful new administration building that houses all the offices!

office 003  We’ve come a long way from old shipping containers!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stopping to Smell the Roses

With all the progress this week on the landscaping of the Timothy Centre site, it was a good time to step back from work and simply enjoy the beauty that is growing here.

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Our favorite spot is the pond fed by the underground spring which now hosts water lilies and papyrus, and is a great place to think, pray, relax at the end of a busy day.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Joy In The Harvest

Back towards the end of August, land preparation began for our fourth season of gardening using Farming God’s Way principles.  Through all the effort you anticipate the joy of the harvest.


Applying God’s blanket of mulch to the planted field




I planted towards the end of August…most farmers delayed for a month before preparing their fields and planting.  The maize and beans at the Timothy Centre are the healthiest of anyone’s in the community.


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After the harvest, in January, we’ll start training in the community again using Farming God’s Way principles to help others achieve these results, as they prepare their fields for the March planting season.